The J. Taylor Finley Middle School seventh grade boys’ soccer team navigated its way through a challenging fall campaign. While the team was outplayed during many games on its schedule, it rebounded with an exciting 5-4 victory over Lindenhurst in the season finale.
Coached by Alex Nelson, the 30 player squad was captained by Vincent Grassi, Ian Husselbeck and Kieran Husselbeck. The season served to prep players for a future in Huntington’s soccer program, which has evolved into one of Suffolk’s best.
Although the Falcons’ 2-8 final record was the polar opposite of what the team hoped to achieve, the roster did include many players that seem destined for successful careers down the road with the Blue Devils.
Yes, it’s possible to have a talented team and still finish with a sub .500 record if some of the essential pieces to the puzzle aren’t in place at the time.
“My favorite aspect of this team has nothing to do with soccer, wins, losses or performing,” Nelson said. “My favorite thing is all the colorful personalities that make-up my 30 man roster. There are a lot of characters on this team and it was nothing but an absolute pleasure watching them come together and become the friends they are today.”
Finley’s top players included Grassi, both Husselbecks and Gavin Kata. Grassi starred at center defender while the Husselbecks were standout center midfielders. Kata shined at outside defender.
“Both Ian and Kieran play with a determination that is unmatched,” Nelson said. “They are both among the hardest workers on the team. Both Vin and Gavin were my most loyal and reliable players on the team. They did anything asked of them and were our wall in the back on defense.”
Nelson cited Finley’s 4-2 victory over West Hollow as the team’s finest achievement of the season. “It was the best performance I have seen from this group as they dominated West Hollow,” the coach said.
Finley closed the season with a one-goal victory over a Lindenhurst team that had earlier handed the Falcons a 3-1 loss. The victory allowed Finley’s players walk away from the field for the last time this fall with smiles on their faces.